NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Belmont women's soccer team again showed its diversity of scoring Sunday, but Eastern Kentucky came away with the 3-1 win at E.S. Rose Park on senior day.
The loss drops Belmont to 5-6-2 and 3-3-1 in Ohio Valley Conference games with just three league matches left in the season.
Against EKU (6-6-2, 2-2-2 OVC), Belmont fell behind 2-0 before freshman defender Rachel Vernon (Suwanee, Ga.) notched her first career goal to cut the deficit in half. It came on a perfectly placed ball sent in from the right corner by junior Kameron Ziesig (Brentwood, Tenn.), not unlike the corner she scored on against Eastern Illinois barely a week ago.
"I ran around to make the back post run and I just saw it was a really big-flighted ball. I was in the right place at the right time to get a knee on it," said Vernon, who is now the 11th Bruin to score a goal this season.
No other team in the OVC has had as many players tally a goal this year. Vernon is also the second Belmont defender to score in 2018 along with senior Sarah Bossung (Nashville, Tenn.).
"I'd rather have the ability to have 11, 12, 15 players who can score instead of putting it all on one player," said Belmont Head Coach Heather Henson. "That makes us an extremely diverse team. I want our players all to defend and I want our players all to attack."
The Bruins fell behind 1-0 in the ninth minute on Sunday. With an early deficit, Henson and the coaching staff switched up Belmont's formation in an attempt to create more scoring opportunities. The tweak worked as Belmont out-shot EKU 10-5 in the second half and looked to be gaining an edge before lightning delayed the game by nearly two hours.
With an 18-12 advantage in shots, Belmont has now out-shot its opponents in five of the past six games. The Bruins equaled the opposition's shots in the sixth one.
Sunday served as the senior day celebration for Belmont's six fourth-year players – Bossung, Karen Baker (Midland, Michigan), Jessi Boozer (Brentwood, Tenn.), Megan Michela (Carol Stream, Illinois), Allie Svoboda (Lisle, Illinois) and Emily Whitcomb (Elmhurst, Illinois) – all of whom will be graduating next year. It was also the first action of the season for Baker due to injury, and the senior drew starting duties alongside her five classmates.
"I'm so glad all six of those seniors got to have today's game together," Henson said. "They've been such an integral part these four years helping our program take new steps forward."
It's not goodbye for the six seniors yet though. The Bruins have three more games on the season, starting next Friday back at home against UT Martin.